EXCLUSIVE: In what can be seen as a sinister move towards authoritarian control by an increasingly unpopular and embattled government, the Minister for Defence, Marise Payne, has issued a directive that all visits by politicians to Defence establishments must now go through her directly.
Last month, Minister Payne advised that all requests from “local, state or federal parliamentarian / politicians” to visit a “Defence unit, base or facility” should be directed to approach the Minister of Defence’s office directly, it can now be revealed by True Crime News Weekly.
The Minister’s office advised that Ms Payne herself would be considering any requests made directly to her office. It was stressed that any requests not sent directly to the Minister’s office would not be considered.
This was a move wholly alien to the Defence protocols of the past, where the Commanding Officer (CO) of a base, unit, ship or establishment had the discretionary power to invite and host dignitaries to visit their respective commands.
Such was the unusual nature of the change in Defence culture, a further rather more curt reminder had to be issued a month later in August to the Navy regarding the Minister’s directive.
The significance of this centralisation of control amounts to the removal of a Commander’s authority to conduct liaison and public relations with local dignitaries. It is a move totally out of step with the traditions of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in being part of the community where each Command resides.
It is hard to understand what would prompt such micro-management on the part of Minister Payne, other than the increasing paranoia of desperate Government. It is not difficult to see that only one side of the political spectrum will find favour from such a decision. Where only those politically friendly to Minister Payne’s view of the world are allowed through the gate, and where those who may have been seen to be political opponents are punished with banishment.
This decision seems to form just one more piece in the puzzle in Australia, in a time where the move to autocracy within democracies around the world is on the rise. Along with Peter Dutton’s continual grabs for more and more power, the increased ability of the Australian Government to monitor its own citizens, and the increasing corruption evident in Federal politics, this presents yet another worrying development.
In February this year, Minister Payne accused Russia and China of “undermining the post-war global order by using proxies, covert and paramilitary operations, economic coercion, cyber attacks, misinformation and media manipulation”.
Seemingly, in spite of being a warrior for freedom when it comes to autocratic global adversaries, Senator Payne appears to prefer to adopt an autocratic model for her own backyard.